Beaujolais- To chill or not to chill?

Chill it. When Beaujolais is served cool- not cold- to the touch, after about fifteen minutes in the refrigerator, its flavours explode with fruit and spice. Chilling the wine is customary in the region. On Sundays jugs of Beaujolais are still set in buckets of cold water and placed under the shade of a tree in the centre of the village so that men playing boules will have something to slake their thirst.

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The Classic Reds- Cabernet Sauvignon

The four red varieties considered classic- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah- are used to make the majority of the world’s greatest red wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon

 The preeminent classic red grape variety is Cabernet Sauvignon. More than any other, Cabernet has vast ranges of quality, of structure, and of maturity. It is astounding that a wine so often a bit angular and introverted when young can metamorphose into a satiny, rich, and complex wine with several years’ ageing. Cabernet can be like the awkward, seemingly unremarkable kid who grapes up to be a Full-bright Scholar and sexy to boot.

Not all cabernet sauvignons have this ability, of course. Many moderately priced versions, such as those from Chile or France’s Languedoc- Roussillon, are made in a style that is intentionally modest. Relatively soft and easy drinking, these cabernets lack the structure, depth, and intense concentration of , say, Chateau Latour from Bordeaux, Sassicaia from Italy, or Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select from California, but they can still process cabernet charm.

Cabernet sauvignon’s aromas and flavours are so compelling that we’ve come to think of them as the cynosures of red wine: blackberry, black currant, cassis, mint, eucalyptus, cedar wood, leather, and plum. These elements are then swirled into a delicious amalgam as the wine ages. In fact, because of the grape’s powerful fruit and linear structure, great cabernet needs both oak and bottle ageing to pull it into harmony. Poorly made cabernet sauvignon, like poorly made sauvignon blanc, usually tastes vegetal, like a dank mixture of bell peppers and the water cabbage has been boiled in. 

Historically, the world’s most prized cabernets came from the Medoc communes of Margaux, St Julien, Pauillac, and St Estephe in Bordeaux, where the wines were(and still are) ranked into growths, from first growth, the most renowned, down to Fifth Growth. However, world-class cabernets are now regularly being made in California (where leads in vineyard acreage fro red grapes), Italy, and Australia; Washington State is poised to join this group soon, too.

Cabernet sauvignon is grown and made principally in: Argentina; Australia; California; Chile; France, in Bordeaux and Languedoc-Roussillon; Hungary; Italy, in the Tre Venezie and Tuscany; New York State, on long Island. New Zealand; South Africa; Texas; Virginia; and Washington State. 

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Grape Adventure Website Launch

Dear Grape Adventurers!

We are not forgetting about you by not posting anything for the past few days. On the contrary, we are working on our new website http://grape-adventure.com/

We understand that great business always needs to cultivate and you are our most important super stars! We will continue to serve you better, just like before, your every single comment or feedback will get replied, your likes and recommendation will be appreciated. But we will mainly focused on the http://grape-adventure.com as our main domaine, but still keep this blog on.

Thanks for your overwhelming support!

Let’s continue our adventure together! I believe the most exciting part still awaits:)

Cheers!

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Elegant Cowboy- Syrah

Syrah reminds me of the kind of guy who wears cowboy boots with a tuxedo. Rustic, mandy, and yet elegant – that’s Syrah. In fact, at the turn of the twentieth century, the British scholar and wine writer George Saintsbury described the famous Rhone wine Heritage (made exclusively from Syrah) as the “manliest wine” he’d ever drunk.

Why syrah’s name was changed to shiraz in South Africa and Australia isn’t quite clear, although a popular if highly unlikely legend has it that syrah may have originated near the Persian city of Shiraz and later traveled to France by way of Greece. Still, this does not explain why a grape known as syrah in France would be given a Persian name once it was brought to South Africa and Australia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

Syrah is grown and made principally in : Australia; California; France, in the Rhone and Languedoc- Roussillon; and South Africa (where, it is know as shiraz).

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California Wines- What’s in a Year?

In general, vintages matter less in California than they do in Europe. The state’s benevolent, fairly uniform climate means that California wines are, for the most part, dependably good year after year. This doesn’t mean that a producer’s wines taste the same every year or that you’ll like every vintage of every wine equally well. The point is simply that truly miserable vintages are not something most California wine drinkers have to worry about coming across.

Unlike many wine regions in the old World, California’s wine regions are usually threatened neither by rain during the harvest (potentially water logging or rotting the grapes), nor by severe frost during the spring (possibly killing the fragile young shoots), not by short cool summers (making full ripening virtually impossible). Nature tends to be on a Californian winemaker’s side.

When a California wine does seem to change a lot from one year to the next, it’s often for reasons other than climate. The producer may have lost an important source of grapes. Or, in the most ironic scenario of all, maybe the wine was so successful the producer decided to make more of it, necessitating buying grapes from other, less ideal vineyard areas to blend with the best grapes. (This very phenomenon resulted in a small ocean of mediocre merlot in the late 1990s.) Thus, in any given year, the character of some wines may deteriorate somewhat, though the reverse happens too, and every year some wines prove surprisingly good.

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Opening a Champagne – Not with a BANG But a WHISPER

Opening Champagne is not difficult- and far more exciting- than opening a bottle of still wine. Each Champagne bottle is under 6 atmospheres of pressure, about the same as a truck tire. With so much pressure behind it, a cork can fly an astounding distance. But that’s only if you open the bottle incorrectly. The correct, safe, and controlled way to open and serve Champagne is:

1. Break and remove the foil, not the wire cage, from around the cork.

2. Place your thumb firmly on top of the cork to keep the cork from flying.

3. With your other hand, unscrew the wire (it takes about six turns) and loosen the cages. You actually don’t have to take the cage off completely.

4.Holding the cork firmly, begin to twist it in one direction as, from the bottom, you twist the bottle in the other direction. Contrary to popular opinion, a Champagne cork should not make a loud thwork! You’re supposed to ease the cork out, so that it makes just a light hissing sound. Unbidden, more than one older Frenchman has advised me that a Champagne bottle, correctly opened, should make a sound no greater than that of a contented woman’s sigh. Frenchmen are French men after all.

5. Holding the bottle around the base, pour. Fill each glass with about 2 inches of Champagne. Then go back and top them all up.

6. If there’s Champagne left, seal the bottle using a Champagne stopper and place it back in the ice bucket to refrigerator.

7. In Champagne, it’s considered rude to turn an empty bottle upside down in an ice bucket.

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How much wine do you need for a party?

Hey Grape Adventurers!
Here comes another Festive Season, No matter you are expecting it like mad, or just don’t give it a damn, you may have to throw a party with your friends and have some fun!
Here are some tips I specially reblog for you 🙂
Prepare one bottle per person allows for quite a comfortable margin for error.
Last but not least, Wish all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance!

Grape Adventure

Caterers- Who as a group, it should be noted, love parties- work on the formula of one bottle per person. That figure is based on the assumption that it is better to have unopened bottles of wine leftover than it is to run out. (It’s also based on the assumption that you’ve got plenty of designated drivers.) Since it is impossible to predict precisely how much (or how little) each guest may drink, a bottle per person allows for quite a comfortable margin of error. If the party will take place over several hours and is especially celebratory (like a wedding), and if you know everyone will be having wine, you should plan for somewhat more. One bottle of wine will yield about five standard glasses of wine when each glass is filled half-way.

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Domaine de la Romanee Conti

The most renowned estate in Burgundy, perhaps in all France, the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, has been the subject of entire books. The DRC, as it is referred to, is owned by the de Villaine and Leroy families and comprises parcels of seven vineyards, all of which are Grands Crus and all of which have been considered exemplary for centuries. These include one vineyard devoted to white wine, Le Montrachet, and six devoted to red, Romanee-Conti and La Tache(both of which are monopoles owned exclusively by the domaine), as well as Richebourg, Romanee St Vivant, Echezeaux, and Grands Echezeaux. Together these seven holdings make up just a little more than 62 acres of vines. Because the yields from these vineyards are kept extremely low, production is minuscule and prices astronomic. The entire production of Romanee Conti is mere 400 to 500 cases a year. This is about 1/100 the production of Ch. Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux. As for cost, year in and year out the wines of the DRC are the most expensive in Burgundy. THe 1998 DRC cost $1100 a bottle.

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The White Wine With Fish Rule

20100527-wines-with-fish-600x411The old rule “white wine with fish; red wine with meat” is based on matching body (the weight of the wine in the mouth) and colour, The adage dates from the days when many white wines were light in body and whitish in colour (like fish), and many red wines were weighty and, obviously, red (like meat). It is, however, the body and components of the wine- not its colour- that are important in matching wine with food.

Today many red wines, such as Oregon pinot noire and northern Italian merlots, are far lighter in body than, for example, barrel-fermented and barrel-aged California and Australian chardonnays. In the 1980s many of realised this (or at least sensed it unconsciously), abandoned the old rule, and began drinking red wine with fish and white wine with meat. By mid-1980s top American steak houses were selling almost as much chardonnay as cabernet sauvignon.

Aroma Wheel

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Aroma wheel, graphical representation of tasting terms used for arms, devised at the university of California at Davis by Ann C Noble and others in the early 1980s. Her research into sensory evaluation of wine had indicated that there was no general agreement either on terminology or on its application. The aroma wheel was developed to provide a standardised lexicon which can be used widely to describe wine aroma in non-judgemental terms, grouping specific terms which can be defined to provide a basis for communication. In its attempt at clarification and categorisation it is used by professionals and provides a good basis on which tasting terms for aroma can be taught to novices, even if with experience, most individuals tend to develop their own terms, which may be just as precise and descriptive. The aroma wheel does not include terms which describe the physical dimensions of a wine (such as full bodied or tart)

The extensive use of the wine aroma wheel has led to the development of an analogous mouthfeel wheel to describe the texture and mouthfeel, sensations of red wines.

To know more about Aroma Wheel, Click: http://winearomawheel.com